In the mainstream sporting world, the buzz is surrounding the NFL Playoffs, Tebowing, NCAA basketball, and the upcoming NFL Super Bowl.
In the horse racing world, it’s Derby Season!
That’s right, the Kentucky Derby® is four months away, but Derby prep season is upon us!
The Derby Prep Season
There are 36 prep races for the 138th Kentucky Derby, including 18 graded stakes preps. To qualify for the Kentucky Derby, horses must be among the top 20 of lifetime graded stakes earners.
January 7, 2012, kicked off the Derby prep season with the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita Park. This marked the first of a series of races restricted to 3-year-olds in preparation for the Kentucky Derby. The next major graded stakes prep is Lecomte at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans.
Last year’s Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom, was 15th on the list of lifetime graded stakes earnings for the 2011 Kentucky Derby. He won his first and only graded stakes race at Turfway Park’s Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, March 26, 2011, which qualified him for the Kentucky Derby.
- With lifetime graded stakes earnings being the means of entry, horses that won graded stakes race as two-year-olds have an advantage over horses that began their graded stakes career at the age of three.
- Thoroughbreds do not need to win prep races to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, but a win at a major graded stakes race will almost assure a horse a spot.
Let the Journey Begin...
Like all derbies, the Kentucky Derby restricts its entries to three-year-old Thoroughbreds.
As January 1st came and went, all Thoroughbred race horses, no matter what date they were actually born, officially turned a year older. That means all registered Thoroughbred horses, which were born in 2009, turned three-years-old on January 1, 2012, making them eligible for the 138th Kentucky Derby.
The road to the Kentucky Derby can be a grueling one for many Thoroughbreds and can mean heartbreak for many owners/trainers if their horse does not qualify.
To qualify for the “Run for the Roses” is a feeling unlike any other and makes the journey well worth the trip. To SEE the Run for the Roses is the experience of a lifetime. FEEL the thrill of victory at the 138th Kentucky Derby with Official Ticket Packages direct from Churchill Downs® through Derby Experiences.
Who do you think will be the top contender in this year’s Kentucky Derby?
To experience the Kentucky Derby for yourself, visit www.DerbyExperiences.com for Derby ticket and experience packages. Make sure you are there this May when history is made at the 138th Kentucky Derby!